How to Migrate From WordPress.com to Self-hosted WordPress

I know that this topic has been mentioned a thousand and one time in the blogosphere, but still, there are many people asking me how to do it the easy way. Since this site is about making tech easier, I have decided to come up with a comprehensive and easy to follow guide for those who have decided to jump the ship.

For those who have no idea about the differences between WordPress.com and self hosted WordPress, read this article first before you proceed.

First thing first

Before you start the migration from WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress, you will need to have:

  • a domain name
  • a web hosting account and
  • the WordPress software already installed.

If you do not have any of the three, go to Hostgator and register for a domain name and a webhost account.

Once you have registered for your domain name and web hosting plan, you will receive an email with your login info.

migratewp-hostgator-email

Click on the cPanel link and login with your username and password.

Once you are in the cPanel dashboard, scroll down till you see the Fantastico icon. Click on it.

On the left pane, click on the WordPress link

migratewp-fantastico-wordpress

You will be asked to enter login name, password and your email address. In a few clicks, the WordPress software will be installed in your server.

You can test it by going to the URL http://your-domain.com/wp-login.php

Migrating from WordPress.com

The next thing that you are going to do is to export all your content from your WordPress.com site.

Login to  your WordPress.com account and go to Tools -> Export

migratewp-wp-export

Click the Download Export File button to export the content. It should generate a XML file.

migratewp-export-xml

Importing to the content to your self hosted WordPress site

Login to your self hosted WordPress site and go to Tools -> Import.

Click on the WordPress link.

migratewp-import-xml

Upload the XML file. It will then prompt you to map the posts author to the new account’s author. Remember to check the box “Download and import file attachments”

migratewp-import-assign-author

Note: If  your XML file is more than 2MB in size, you might face problem uploading it to the server (most servers only allow 2MB of file upload). You will have to submit a ticket to your web host and get them to increase the file upload limit.

Redirecting readers from WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress site

You have migrated your content over, don’t you want to migrate your readers over too?

Currently there is no free way to do this. The only way to redirect your readers is to use the domain mapping method which will cost you $9.97 per year.

You can head on to the WordPress support site for detailed instructions to map the WordPress.com site to your domain. In general, you need to:

  • change the nameserver of your domain to point to the WordPress.com server
  • Add your domain name to your WordPress.com site in the Settings -> Domains section (This will require you to pay an annual fee of $9.97).
  • Change the nameserver of your domain back to its original setting.

With that, any readers arriving at your WordPress.com site will be redirected to your self hosted WordPress site. You get to keep your readers as well as your search engine ranking.

That’s it. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them in the comments.

12 comments

  1. Two thumbs up on suggesting HostGator. I've used a ton of hosts in the past 16 years & I have to admit that HostGator has been the best yet. For both personal & business accounts, they rock. Great tutorial too!

  2. Yeah! I hosted my site with several hosts before I switch to Hostgator. Once I switched over, there is no looking back. It was because the site grew tremendously that I have no choice but to upgrade to a VPS.

  3. This post was really helpful for me to migrate my client's wordpress website to his self hosted domain. Your post really saved my day. Thank you so much.

  4. Deepika, I am glad that it is useful to you. Hopefully you have migrated your client's site successfully.

  5. How do I migrate the stats/number of hits I’ve had so far on my WordPress.com over to my new self-hosted WP blog? Or will I lose them all despite keeping all the comments?

    • your stat is kept at the wordpress.com server, so it will still be around even you have switched the platform. However, if you changed the domain name, you will see a new set of data for your new blog.

  6. Thank you for this information. When one migrates the content, what happens to the images? My client has over 2,000 images on their wordpress.com site, and we need them to migrate over the new hostgator hosting wordpress solution.

    • If you select the “Download and import file attachments”, the images will be migrated over as well.

  7. Without paying for the domain mapping, would you recommend simply deleting the old website so as to avoid duplicate content or keeping the old site live?
    Thanks

    • If you are sure that you have migrated all the content to your self hosted site, you can delete the old one. You might also want to keep it for a period of time, make sure the new site is functioning properly first before deleting.

  8. Hi I am familiar with all the steps you mention, CP Panel, install WP, where the dashboard links are etc. Roughly how long doesyour detailed export / import process take? Several minutes or several hours

    •  That depend on how big your database is. For a large database, exporting directly from the phpmyadmin is much faster than from WordPress export.

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